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BLESS THIS SCOUSE; Liverpool 3, Leeds 0.

STEVE McManaman last night put Liverpool into the FA Cup semi- finals and earned this glowing tribute from Howard Wilkinson: "He was virtually unstoppable."

McManaman ran Leeds ragged with two magnificent goals in a sixth round replay at Anfield.

Robbie Fowler celebrated his England call-up with Liverpool's third but it was his close pal McManaman who picked up the man of the match award and the tribute.

Leeds boss Wilkinson said: "It was a tale of one player - Steve McManaman. We had two problems. One of them was him, the other was that the ball didn't stick for us up front so we never got any breathers.

"At half-time I told the players McManaman had been our only problem with his ability, his dribbling, and his shooting.

"He missed the target a few times but kept coming back for more and the first time he got behind us he scored.

"We had great difficulty in stopping him. We handled them quite well but he was like a wild card that we couldn't cope with.

"He did what he set out to

do - win that football match and you can only look on at the kid with envy and admiration.

"His first goal was a hell of a shot with no backlift and against a keeper who is very much in form."

McManaman joked afterwards: "I reckon I had 57 shots, so two of them had to go in!

"We learned after the first game at Elland Road that we had to be patient.

"We had a good dress rehearsal against Chelsea on Saturday and had to be patient. We did the same thing tonight."

Liverpool's manager Roy Evans, whose team have stretched their unbeaten run to 20 matches, also praised McManaman.

He said: "Leeds paid him the compliment of putting a man on him but he still produced an exceptional performance.

"Some of his finishing was a bit misguided and when he finally scored it was about time he got one on target.

"We go on about passing and moving for each other here but he does give us another option -he just decides to run at teams and on a good day he's fantastic."

Liverpool now face Aston Villa in the last four at Old Trafford on March 31.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Tanner, Richard
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 21, 1996
Words:380
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